125 technology quick tips

How many of these best practices are you following?

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS
June 1, 2012

Throughout its history, the JofA has striven to help CPAs achieve greater productivity. In honor of that great tradition and the AICPA’s 125th birthday, presented here are 125 technology quick tips.


Technology quick tipsWORD

1. Crop picture to shape. Crop a picture according to a shape, such as a heart or star, by selecting Crop, Crop to Shape from the Size group in the Picture Tools tab.

2. Minimize the Ribbon. In Word 2010 and 2007, minimize the Ribbon by pressing Ctrl+F1. To restore the Ribbon, press Ctrl+F1 again, or double-click a Ribbon tab.

3. Date picker. To add a Date Picker (a clickable calendar) to your document, from the Developer tab, click the Date Picker Content Control in the Controls group. If the Developer tab is not displayed in the Ribbon, turn it on by clicking File, Options, Customize Ribbon, then click the check box labeled Developer in the right pane.

4. Clipboard history. The Clipboard keeps a copy of the past 24 items you have copied. To view (and paste) any of these items, from the Home tab, click the down arrow icon in the lower-right corner of the Clipboard group.

5. Navigation map. To view a document’s organization and jump to different sections in Word 2010 and 2007, press Ctrl+F (or from the View tab, select the Navigation Pane check box). In Word 2003 or earlier, press Ctrl+F (or from the View menu, select Document Map).

6. Page and line breaks. To insert a page break, press Ctrl+Enter. To insert a line break but continue the paragraph, press Shift+Enter.

7. Split view. To see two parts of a Word document simultaneously, drag the split bar at the top of the scroll bar (or click Split on the View tab), then position the split as desired.

8. Navigate home. To jump to the beginning (or end) of a document, press Ctrl+Home (or Ctrl+End).

9. Tabs in tables. To insert a tab in a table cell, press Ctrl+Tab.

10. Horizontally numbered bullets. To number column headings in a table, select the top row, and then from the Home tab, click the Numbering icon in the Paragraph group.

11. Move table rows. To move a table row up or down, select the row, and then press Alt+Shift+Up Arrow or Alt+Shift+Down Arrow.

12. Tab stops. To add a tab stop, click anywhere in a paragraph to select it, then click the ruler where you want to set the tab stop to occur. To change the type of tab stop inserted, click the tab icon located to the left of the ruler. Repeated clicking will cycle through the types of tab stops available. To delete a tab stop, drag it off the ruler. Note: To show the ruler, click on Ruler in the Show group under the View tab.

13. Find your last edit. To return to the location of your last edit, press Shift+F5.

14. Thesaurus. To look up synonyms in the thesaurus, select a word and press Shift+F7.

15. Control consecutive hyphens. To limit the number of consecutive hyphens, from the Page Layout tab’s Page Setup group, select Hyphenation, Hyphenation options, and adjust the Limit consecutive hyphens to spinner to the desired setting, and click OK.

16. Quickly add a solid line. To create a solid line, starting at the left-most position of a blank line, type at least three hyphens, and then press Enter. To create a thicker line, hold the Shift key down and type at least three underlines, and then press Enter.

17. Check boxes. To insert clickable check boxes in Word 2010 and 2007, activate the Developer tab by selecting File, Options, Customize Ribbon, and click the check box labeled Developer under the Main Tabs section. Then from the Developer tab, click the Check Box Content Control icon in the Controls group to add a working check box to your document.


Technology quick tipsPOWERPOINT

Note: All of these PowerPoint tips apply to PowerPoint being in Slide Show mode.

18. Jumping slides. You can jump to a particular slide by entering the slide number and pressing Enter.

19. Display hidden slides. Press H to advance the presentation to the next hidden slide.

20. Return to start. Quickly return to the first slide by holding both mouse buttons for two seconds (or press the number 1 and then press Enter).

21. Blank screen. Display a black screen (or return to the slide show from a black screen) by pressing B or the period key.

22. Write on your slide show. When displaying a presentation, press Ctrl+P to change the pointer to a pen to annotate your slide show, and press the Esc key to return to a pointer. Press E to erase annotations.

23. Display list of slides. When displaying a presentation, press Ctrl+S to display a list of all slides with slide titles, then doubleclick a selection to jump to that slide.

24. Publish your slide show as a video. Start by recording your slide show with your narration from the Slide Show tab by selecting Record Slide Show, Start Recording. When you are done, from the File tab, select Save & Send, Create a Video.


Technology quick tipsOUTLOOK

25. Print multiple emails at once. Print a group of email messages all at once by selecting multiple emails while holding down the Ctrl key and then selecting File, Print, Memo Style, Print.

26. Create an Outlook task by dragging a file. Drag and drop a file from an Explorer window to the Tasks button in Outlook’s Navigation Pane. A new task will open with the file attached. Fill in the remaining information, and then click Save and Close.

27. Connecting email threads. To find related emails, without opening the message, right-click on it, and then on the popup menu, select Find Related, Messages in This Conversation. The Advanced Find dialog box will appear, summarizing all related emails.

28. Set a reminder to reply to a message. Right-click the message you want to set the reminder for, select Follow Up, and then click Add Reminder. In the Custom dialog box, select a Due date, make sure the Reminder box is checked, then click OK.

29. Eliminate redundant threads. To eliminate redundant email threads, on the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Clean Up, and select Clean Up Conversation to eliminate redundancies in the current message, or Clean Up Folder to eliminate redundancies for the entire folder. Note: This does not work with Microsoft Exchange unless Use Cached Exchange Mode is on. Otherwise, Clean Up is grayed out.

30. View email messages by conversation. On the View tab, in the Conversations group, select the Show as Conversations check box, then click All Folders or This folder. Note: This feature works only if emails are sorted by date received. Otherwise, the Conversations group is grayed out.

31. Quickly test the hyperlink in the message you just wrote. Press Ctrl and click the hyperlink to launch it in a new browser window to verify it works properly.


Technology quick tipsEXCEL

32. Enter today’s date. To enter today’s date into Excel, press Ctrl+; (the semicolon key).

33. Selecting data. To select a large range of contiguous data cells, click on any cell in the range and press Ctrl+A.

34. Define names quickly. Select a table range (using the Ctrl+A method described in tip 33), click Ctrl+Shift+F3 simultaneously, select the appropriate check box to indicate where the column (or row) labels are located, then click OK. This action will quickly create defined names for each column and row. (Press F5 to see your results.)

35. AutoSum shortcut. The AutoSum tool is quick, but faster still is selecting a cell at the bottom of a column and pressing Alt+=, which inserts the =Sum() function just like AutoSum does.

36. Quickly convert a column of formulas to values. Highlight a column containing formulas, right-click and drag the edge of the column to the right, then drag it back to its original position, and release the mouse button, then select Copy Here as Values Only from the popup menu.

37. Keep leading zeros. To paste numbers into Excel and preserve the leading zeros, first format the cells as Text, then paste the data using Paste Special, Text.

38. Dropdown lists tip. To make a dropdown list on one worksheet, refer to a list of data on a different worksheet, highlight the list, and name it from the Formulas tab, by selecting Define Name, and then enter a name (such as employees) and click OK. Then, on a different worksheet, create a dropdown list from the Data tab by selecting Data Validation from the Data Tools group, select List from the Allow dropdown box, and in the Source box, type = and the name you defined (or in this example, enter =employees), then click OK.

39. Custom Ribbons. Excel 2010 allows you to create your own custom Ribbon tab, as follows. Right-click on any Ribbon tab and select Customize the Ribbon, then click the New Tab button, add commands from the left pane using the Add>> button, as desired, then click OK.

40. Produce a quick chart. To quickly create a chart, select the data cells you want to chart and press the F11 key.


Technology quick tipsCOMPUTER WORKSTATION

41. Ergonomics. Monitors positioned at eye level allow you to work longer and with less fatigue. Keyboards positioned so your arms are parallel to the ground (and not resting on the edge of the desk) ensure proper blood flow to your wrist and hands.

42. Lighting. A mixture of fluorescent and incandescent lighting along with natural sunlight helps avoid eye fatigue and will keep you more productive.

43. Computer chair. A chair with wheels positioned on a solid floor (or carpet protector) enables you to position your chair properly when working at the computer, and also enables you to get in and out of your chair comfortably.

44. Ergonomic keyboard. An ergonomic keyboard shaped to fit your natural arm positions can help prevent wrist injuries.


Technology quick tipsWEBSITES AND FREE STUFF

45. Share shorter links. Instead of sending someone a long URL (webpage address), you can convert that long URL into a short URL for free at tinyurl.com.

46. Find nearby gas prices. Gas Buddy (gasbuddy.com) provides a website and smartphone app that lists gas prices in your area (sorted lowest to highest), and the smartphone version of the app guides you there with turn-by-turn directions.

47. Look up phone numbers. White Pages (whitepages.com) provides free residential and business phone number, address, and reverse lookups, and usually is a better choice than the many websites that charge for the same service.

48. Do Not Call Registry. To minimize unsolicited phone calls, visit the National Do Not Call Registry (donotcall.gov) to add your phone number and report offenders.

49. Expand your thinking. The Ted website (ted.com) features more than 1,000 interesting, insightful, thought-provoking presentations and ideas from around the world.

50. Video email. The Eyejot website (eyejot.com) allows you to record and send free video email messages.

51. Video conferencing add-on features. Not only does Skype (skype.com) offer free computer-to-computer video conferencing, it also offers upgrade options for call forwarding, conference recording, screen sharing, computer-to-phone communications, and conferencing for up to 50 simultaneous participants.

52. Surveys. To create and send free surveys that are automatically tabulated as your recipients submit them, visit surveymonkey.com, click the Sign Up Free button to set up a free account, then follow the instructions for creating and sending your custom surveys.

53. Encrypted mail. To send an encrypted email message to a person who does not use encryption, visit hushmail.com and click the Sign up for free email button to create an account. Then log in, draft your email, add attachments, provide a security question and answer, then click Send (and perhaps call the recipient to make sure he or she knows the correct answer to unlock the message).

54. Find lower prices. To comparison price shop millions of products available from more than 13,000 merchants, visit pricegrabber.com, enter a search phrase, and then use the left pane options to narrow your search.

55. Open Office. The Open Office application suite is available free at openoffice.org, and includes text document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database applications.

56. Computer utility. CPU-Z is a free utility that displays detailed information about your computer, including the computer model, chipset, memory details, BIOS brand and version, and information about your computer’s slots (tinyurl.com/7somo2d).

57. Remote access. LogMeIn (logmein.com) offers free remote access capability enabling you to connect remotely to your computer from any internet location.

58. Hard drive encryption. TrueCrypt offers free hard disk (or USB flash drive) encryption to more securely protect your computer’s data (truecrypt.org).

59. Cloud-based hard drive. Microsoft offers a free 50-gigabyte SkyDrive where you can upload and share files and pictures. You also receive a free email account and free limited editions of Excel 2010, Word 2010, and PowerPoint 2010. Simply sign up for a free Windows Live account at windowslive.com. Similar offerings are available from Google (tinyurl.com/7mj7nwe) and iCloud (icloud.com).

60. Microsoft Office. College students are eligible to purchase Windows 7 Professional and Office 2010 Professional Academic for approximately $65 and $100, respectively. A valid email ending in .edu is required (tinyurl.com/7c3hupq).


Technology quick tipsYOUTUBE

61. Online video clips. While YouTube (youtube.com) contains millions of silly videos, there are millions of worthwhile videos for learning about virtually any topic imaginable. I’ve used YouTube to learn how to install electrical wiring, become a beekeeper, use Adobe Photoshop, and implement supply chain technology. Plus, you can access the JofA channel at youtube.com/user/JournalofAccountancy.

62. Embed code. YouTube video clips include “embed code” that you can copy and paste into your webpage (in code page view) so the clip plays from YouTube servers but looks as if it’s playing seamlessly from your webpage.

63. Video editing. YouTube provides free video editing tools that display all of your videos and enable you to trim your video, stabilize shaky video, add watermarks and music, and stitch multiple videos together (youtube.com/editor).

64. Video management. The YouTube Video Manager allows you to add titles, descriptions, tags, thumbnail view, privacy, viewer comments, viewer voting, ratings, embedding, and syndication. (To access this functionality, log in to your YouTube account and click Upload, Manage My Videos).

65. Video analytics. YouTube tracks and reports analytics for each of your videos (such as the number of views, likes and dislikes, and demographic data for your viewers). To access this data, log in to your YouTube account, click Upload, select a video, and click Analytics.

66. Download videos. The YouTube Downloader enables you to download current YouTube videos to your computer (tinyurl.com/22pvcz).


Technology quick tipsBING AND GOOGLE

67. Weather. Typing the word weather followed by a city and state (or ZIP code) into Bing or Google will display the current weather conditions for that location.

68. Tickers. Typing a ticker symbol into Bing or Google will display the latest financial details for that investment.

69. Time. Typing the word time and the name of a city into Bing or Google will display the time in many cities around the world.

70. Sunrise/sunset. Typing sunrise or sunset followed by the city name (or ZIP code) into Bing or Google will display the current times of sunrises and sunsets (for many U.S. and worldwide cities).

71. Statistics. Typing population or unemployment rate followed by a state or county into Bing or Google will display population or unemployment rates of U.S. states and counties. Click on the answer to access additional options that allow you to compare data for different locations.

72. Food. Typing the phrase Italian food followed by a city and state (or ZIP code) into Bing or Google will display Italian food restaurants (including address and phone) for that location. Also works for several other countries’ style of food.

73. Movies. Typing the phrase movies (or the name of a current film) followed by a city and state (or ZIP code) into Bing or Google will display showtimes for movies (or a specific film) playing at theaters in that location.

74. Google Alerts. You can create an alert in which Google notifies you (and sends you a link) each time a name or phrase you specify appears in a news story, press release, or webpage (tinyurl.com/6j3k2).

75. Searching for synonyms. In Google, inserting a tilde (~) immediately in front of your search term will return your search term and its synonyms (for example, entering ~gorgeous returns the synonyms splendid, magnificent, glorious, superb, and grand.)

76. Google Chrome Add-Ons. Google Chrome users should consider installing four free add-on extensions: Ad Block (to clean webpages of ad clutter); Fastest Chrome (to make your browser run faster); Turn Off The Lights (to dim the rest of the webpage when viewing YouTube video); and Read Later (to cache articles to your hard drive for later reading) (tinyurl.com/42zq5j5).

77. Google Easter eggs. Google Chrome users can type the following phrases into the Google search engine: Do a Barrel Roll or Tilt to roll or tilt the screen. Additionally, the following Google Search page allows users to play Pac-Man: google.com/pacman.


Technology quick tipsiPAD

78. Spotlight search. Double-tap the Home button to reveal Spotlight Search, which displays all of your running apps along the bottom of the screen.

79. Quick controls. To quickly display Playback, Reverse, Play/Pause, Skip, Brightness, and Volume controls, double-tap the Home button and swipe the bottom of the screen toward the right.

80. Keyboard shortcuts. When typing, swiping up on the comma key inserts an apostrophe; swiping up on the period key inserts a quotation; holding the hyphen key inserts em-dashes or bullets; and holding the dollar sign key inserts several different currency symbols.

81. Safari bookmarks. By default, the Safari browser does not display the Bookmarks icon. To enable this feature, select Settings from the Home screen, select Safari from the left menu, then toggle the option labeled Always Show Bookmarks Bar to ON.

82. Sync files to your iPad. Download and install Dropbox (free) on both your iPad and computer. Thereafter, the photos, Word, Excel, and PDF documents you drop into your Dropbox from either device will be instantly accessible from either device.

83. Extreme security. If your iPad contains highly sensitive data, enable the Erase Data setting by selecting Settings, General, Passcode Lock, Erase Data. Thereafter, the iPad will erase all data in the event that someone inputs an incorrect passcode 10 times consecutively.

84. Dock your apps. By default, the iPad displays four apps on the Dock (the home page’s main menu running across the bottom), but there is room for six apps. To add two more apps to your Dock, press and hold any app icon until it jiggles, then drag the app onto the Dock.

85. Create folders. Create a folder by tapping and holding an app icon until it jiggles, then drag and drop the app onto another app. iPad will create a folder containing both apps, and you can rename the folder and add more apps.

86. Scroll to the top. After scrolling down a large document or webpage, tap the title bar at the top of the screen to quickly scroll back to the top.

87. Split keyboard. To split the iPad’s keyboard for more comfortable typing, with your cursor within any text area, tap and hold on the keyboard toggle button at the bottom right of the keyboard and drag the keyboard upward until it divides. The keyboard halves will merge when you drag the keyboard back to the bottom.


Technology quick tipsSMARTPHONES

88. Protect battery life. To protect your smartphone’s battery life, reduce the screen’s brightness by at least 10%; set the screen to go blank in fewer seconds; turn off Bluetooth when it’s not needed; disable the Wi-Fi (unless you plan to connect); and download and install a battery-saving app (such as Juice Defender for Android smartphones).

89. Rechargers. Today’s rechargers have different output ratings, generally ranging from 0.4 to 1.25 amps. Using a recharger of a higher amp is OK, but using one less than your phone requires can damage the phone’s battery.

90. Dialing 911. For those who have dropped landlines, you should take time to teach your kids how to use your smartphone to dial 911 in case of emergency. In addition, because 911 systems don’t detect locations quickly, teach your children to also provide the 911 operator with the specific emergency location.

91. Find your phone. Mobile Defense is a free app that sends a signal allowing you to identify the location of a smartphone on a web map, if it is lost or stolen. In addition, this app allows you to call and lock your lost or stolen phone to protect its contents. Note: Similar functionality is built into the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices. Also, many of these applications have a remote wipe feature, which allows you to wipe all data off your device remotely.

92. Traveling abroad. When traveling abroad, if possible, you should deactivate roaming to avoid roaming fees (which can be excessive), deactivate any push apps, and set your email from auto-check to manual. Thereafter, connecting to a free (secure) Wi-Fi to download your email and voice mail most likely will save you money.

93. Airplane mode. An alternative to deactivating roaming is to keep your smartphone in Airplane Mode (unless you need to make or receive calls); otherwise, you may be charged excessive international fees any time someone calls you or leaves a voice mail.

94. Whiteboard snapshot. As a conclusion to a successful brainstorming meeting, take a picture of the whiteboard using your smartphone camera before you leave the room.

95. Remember where you parked. When parking at an airport or large mall, use your smartphone’s camera to take a picture of the parking space number to help you remember where you parked. The same goes for your hotel room number.


Technology quick tipsCOMPUTER TESTS

96. Test your computer’s security. Gibson Research Corp.’s ShieldsUP! can test your computer for vulnerabilities (free). To use this tool, visit tinyurl.com/sovd and click the Proceed button, then click the File Sharing, Common Ports, and other buttons to run the various security checks.

97. Test your internet speed. Broadband DSLReports can test and report your internet speed (free) to ensure that your internet provider is delivering the speed you are paying for. To use this tool, visit tinyurl.com/yd2rlk and click any option from the Server List.

98. Test your browser performance. PeaceKeeper can test how well various browsers perform on your computer (free). To use this tool, launch the browser you want to test, visit tinyurl.com/442cfax, and click the Test your browser Go button.

99. Review your computer’s energy settings. To analyze the energy efficiency of your Windows 7 or Vista computer, click on the Windows Start button and type CMD into the search box (a popup box will appear). At the top of the box, right-click the command prompt icon and select Run as Administrator (a command box will open). Type powercfg-energy and press Enter. A report will be created on the hard drive.

100. Troubleshooting your wireless router. If your wireless router is not working correctly, try unplugging it for at least 60 seconds (so the internal memory resets), then plug it back in and turn it back on.

101. Video conversion. To convert your video to a different format, many computers come pre-installed with AMD Catalyst Control Center, which includes a little-known and hidden video conversion tool that supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DVD, Windows Media, iPod Video, and more. (From the Catalyst Control Center menu, select Video, AMD Video Converter.)


Technology quick tipsGADGETS

102. Scanning. Don’t have a scanner? Most new color printers, even those not advertised as scanners, can scan documents into your computer. To use this tool, install the scanning software from the printer’s installation CD that came with your printer, or download it free from the manufacturer’s website.

103. Power supplies. If you have three or more monitors on your computer, you should upgrade your power supply to 500 watts or better; otherwise, the multiple monitors could draw more power than your computer can handle.

104. Wireless signal boost. A wireless range extender (priced from $68.79 to $174.42) will boost the signal from your wireless router so it reaches weak spots in your home or office (for examples, go to tinyurl.com/88mwho9).

105. SSD adjustments. If your computer’s primary hard drive is a solid state drive (SSD), it will last longer if you disable the Disk Defragmenter and SuperFetch utilities, which are less germane to SSD drives. To do this, in Control Panel, select Administrative Tools, Services, and disable both utilities.


Technology quick tipsWINDOWS

106. System restore. If your computer starts acting up, restoring the registry to a previous point in time might correct the problem. To use this tool, click the Start button and select All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. (Make sure to read the warnings as you proceed so you fully understand what System Restore does).

107. View today’s date. Hover the mouse pointer over the time in the Windows System Tray to quickly display the current day and date.

108. Quick launch icons. In Windows 7 and Vista, pinning frequently used applications to your Taskbar makes them easier to launch. To use this feature, click and drag an application icon (from your Start menu or Desktop) and drop it onto the left portion of your Taskbar.

109. Explorer check boxes. Add check boxes to Explorer windows to make it easier to select multiple files, as follows. From the Explorer menu, select Organize, Folder and Search Options, View tab, and check the box titled Use check boxes to select items.

110. Pin the recycle bin. By default, the Recycle Bin cannot be pinned to your Windows Taskbar; therefore, as a work-around, create a shortcut on your Desktop labeled %SystemRoot%explorer.exe shell:RecycleBinFolder, enter a name (such as Recycle Bin) for the shortcut, then click OK. Right-click the shortcut, select Properties, and select the trash can icon. To finish, drag and drop the new shortcut to your Taskbar.

111. Add more options to your right-click popup menu. Type Regedit in the Windows Command box (access by clicking Start, Run) to launch the Registry Editor, then navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{20D04FE-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}shell. Right-click the shell folder, select New, Key and enter a name (such as Clean my PC). Under that key, create another new key called command. Next, double-click the new key and type in the name of an executable file such as cleanmgr.exe, and click OK. Close the Registry. When you right-click on your computer icon on your desktop, Clean my PC will appear on the list of options.

112. ISO images. If you download a CD file (such as a Windows or Office installation CD) from the internet, to convert it to a fully functional CD, burn the file as an ISO image by right-clicking the file(s) and selecting Burn disc image; then select the correct drive letter for your CD drive containing a blank CD, and click Burn.

113. Disable games. To disable the games included in Windows, from the Start button command box enter the phrase Turn Off Features, and uncheck the box labeled Games.

114. GodMode. To create a single folder that accesses most Windows settings, create a new folder on your desktop labeled GodMode.{ed7ba470-8e54-465e-825c-99712043e01c}. ( Note: The term GodMode can be replaced with any string of text, such as Windows_Tools, but you must include the string starting with .{ed7 as part of the name.)


Technology quick tipsYAHOO! FINANCE

115. Historical stock prices and dividends. Download historical stock prices and dividend information from Yahoo! Finance (finance.yahoo.com) by entering a ticker symbol, then clicking the Historical Prices option in the left pane menu.

116. Stock Screener. The Stock Screener (screener.finance. yahoo.com/stocks.html) allows you to search for stocks that meet specific criteria such as industry, share price, market cap, dividend yield, P/E ratio, analyst estimates, and more.

117. View real-time stock data. To view your portfolio(s) in real time (free), from your Yahoo portfolio, click the Edit button (located to the right of the portfolio name), and from the Default View dropdown menu, select Real-Time.

118. Share and price info. To add share and price information to your portfolio(s), display your portfolio and click the Add/edit holdings menu option and supply the desired information.

119. Custom portfolio view. To create a customized view of your portfolio(s), display your portfolio and select Add Custom View (located on the last tab, which you may have to scroll to see), then select your desired options from the Add & Remove Fields and click Save.

120. Create a stock alert. You can create stock alerts by setting up a free Yahoo! account, then visit alerts.yahoo.com, click the Create an Alert tab, select Stocks Watch, fill in the necessary information, and click the Save Alert button.


Technology quick tipsWINDOWS CONTROL PANEL

121. Indexed searching. By default, Windows 7 and Vista index only the files in you’re My Documents folder. To index other data file locations, select Indexing Options, Modify, then navigate to and place a checkmark next to the folders you would like Windows 7 and Vista to also search.

122. Cursor motion. To accelerate your mouse so the pointer will travel the width of your screen(s) as you slide your mouse across the mouse pad, select Mouse, and on the Pointers Option tab, slide the Motion chevron to Fast.

123. Use short dates. Changing the default date format and number settings in Region and Language will change the default settings used by Excel, Word, and many other applications.

124. Sounds. Adjust the volume of your speakers separately (for example, for sounds coming from your browser versus Windows Media Player) by clicking on the speaker icon in the Windows System Tray, then click Mixer and adjust the volume for each application.

125. Improve performance. Improve your computer’s performance; from the Start button’s Search Programs and Files box, enter the phrase Power Plan and then select the Maximum Performance option. Note: On some company-issued computers, the IT department customizes the performance options. In those cases, this tip might not work.

BONUS TIP

JofA app. AICPA members can now read the monthly Technology Q&A column on the new Journal of Accountancy News App for iPad. The app also features news from the JofA staff and CPA Letter Daily. Available on the App Store, the app is free and available only to members. Click here to download.

J. Carlton Collins ( carlton@asaresearch.com ) is a technology and accounting systems consultant and a JofA contributing editor.

To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Jeff Drew, senior editor, at jdrew@aicpa.org or 919-402-4056.

Note: Instructions for Windows and Microsoft Office refer to Windows 7 or Vista, and Office 2010 or 2007 versions, unless otherwise specified.

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The AICPA Information Technology (IT) Division serves members of the IT Membership Section (ITMS), CPAs who hold the Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) credential, other AICPA members, and others who want to maximize information technology to provide risk, fraud, internal control, audit, and/or information management services within their firms or for their employers. The division aims to support members and credential holders who leverage technology to provide assurance or business insight about financial-related information (direct and indirect financial data, processes, or reporting) to support their clients and/or employers. To learn about the IT Division, visit aicpa.org/infotech.

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